Brooks’ bill supports college completion by America’s low-income students

U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) on Oct. 4 introduced a bipartisan bill to support low-income students in completing their college education.

“I am proud to lead this bipartisan legislation because with this bill, we can help improve graduation rates and reduce the increasing amount of student debt in our country,” said Rep. Brooks last week.

The congresswoman is the lead cosponsor of the Pell Plus Act of 2019, H.R. 4608, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) to establish partnerships between colleges and universities to provide a Pell Grant bonus to low-income students in their third and fourth years on a path to on-time graduation.

“One of the most challenging factors students today must consider when deciding whether or not to pursue higher education is the financial burden of enrollment,” Rep. Brooks said. “The Pell Plus Act provides students flexibility to choose a college path that best suits their needs all while ensuring students can graduate with the least amount of debt possible.”

If enacted, the bill would help promote college completion by assuring that on-time graduates receive the same amount of Pell Grant assistance as those who take six academic years to earn a degree, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Brooks’ office.

Under H.R. 4608, bonus amounts would be matched dollar-for-dollar by participating colleges and universities, the summary says, noting that when the 2019-2020 academic year is used as a baseline, the nation’s lowest-income students would receive an annual grant of $18,585 to attend the college of their choice.

Numerous supporters of the legislation include the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design, the Council of Independent Colleges, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, among many others.